Chinese yacht crew hoping it's third time lucky in Sydney to Hobart


Ark323 is back for more Sydney to Hobart racing, with its youngest-ever crew hoping to change a run of bad luck.

China's Ark323 is back for more Sydney to Hobart racing this year with a refreshed crew hoping it will be third time lucky for the yacht. 

The TP52 boat is lining up for a third straight year with its youngest ever all-Chinese crew (and a touch of Australian expertise) and the hopes of a nation riding on it. 

In a sign of how seriously the Noahs Sailing Club of Shanghai is taking this year's race, its Ark323 entry was the first boat registered for this year's Sydney to Hobart back in July. The fact the crew arrived in Australia in October to begin preparations shows they mean business. 

Ark323 was knocked out of the race in 2015 after a collision with Ragamuffin 52 in Sydney Harbour. Last year, it lost its mainsail and damaged a boom.

Putting Ark323 through its paces on Sydney Harbour.
Putting Ark323 through its paces on Sydney Harbour.

But with a new sponsor and a young crew, the team is determined to show what it can do. 

"We are very proud to be representing China in the Sydney Hobart race," 24-year-old Eli Chen told SBS News. 

Between now and Boxing Day, the crew will have around 100 hours to get to grips with the onboard technical equipment designed to take them south as fast as possible.

Australian coach Ben Morrison-Jack has been working with the team since they arrived in Sydney. 

"We've been having a great time sailing every day for about two months,  so it's been great," he said.

Ark323 crew members
Ark323 crew members enjoying some downtime.

And if lady luck has a say, Ark323 could well be making news back home later this month. 

Last year, 600,000 people in China watched a live stream of the race start. Success for its only mainland entrant will surely see that figure rise.

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2017 begins 26 December.

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